An outdoor summer wedding requires special strategies to ensure that everyone stays safe and as comfortable as possible. While you can’t control the temperature or the amount of sun and wind that will grace your wedding day, you can and should make plans to accommodate possible conditions.
The first set of considerations revolves around the ceremony space. Consider your ceremony’s scheduled start time and look at the venue in terms of both shade that will be available for your guests and the position of the sun. If possible, orient the ceremony space so the sun is to the side so no one is looking directly into the sun. If the ceremony venue is fixed, and your guests will be looking into a setting sun, consider providing inexpensive sunglasses or visors for the guests. These can be favors/takeaways, and also very practical. If possible, position the chairs to take advantage of any available shade, too. If there just isn’t any shade, consider inviting guests to mingle in nearby shade until just before the ceremony begins.
Once you’ve done what is possible with the actual ceremony space, the next thing to consider is how you can increase your guests’ comfort in other ways. Having cold water available for guests to take as they are seated can help them stay cooler during the ceremony. Mounting your ceremony program on a stick provides a fan for guests to cool themselves with during the ceremony. You can also fill a large tub with rolled inexpensive washcloths sitting in iced water for them to take to wipe faces, hands and pulse points as they leave the space after the ceremony. (These washcloths can be laundered and donated to a homeless shelter, womens shelter or other charitable organization later.)
Beyond the ideas above, the best way to keep people comfortable is to start your ceremony on time. Don’t leave your guests sitting in the unrelenting sun and heat for 10 or 15 minutes beyond the published ceremony start time. Start promptly to allow your guests to enjoy the ceremony with you and then move to more comfortable spaces. And finally, if you know that you’re likely to have a hot and/or humid wedding day based on your location and wedding date, consider the length of your ceremony. You can do a very meaningful ceremony in 20 minutes, or even 15 if necessary, and your guests will appreciate your consideration.
Outdoor, summer weddings can be beautiful, but they can also be uncomfortable or even hazardous for you and your guests, so consider likely both weather and venue in your ceremony planning efforts. And don’t forget to consider the possibilities available for lovely indoor wedding ceremony options, too.